Money holding back Tk'emlups in transit agreement with city

By Chad Klassen
March 13, 2017 - 6:00pm

KAMLOOPS — For many of the thousands of Kamloops residents who utilize the public transit system to get around town, they wouldn't be able to get from Point A to Point B without it. 

But not everyone needing transit in the surrounding area can access it, with no bus service currently to Sun Rivers and Tk'emlups reserve. 

"Be it transit or be it Handy Dart, it's something dearly needed," says Tk'emlups Chief Fred Seymour. "Even students going to TRU and having them be dropped off at the bus points and getting up to the university."

The problem for the Tk'emlups indian band is money — with a transit service agreement with the City of Kamloops costing $250,000. 

"Yeah, the bottom line is, at this time, the band doesn't have a quarter-million dollars to offset that cost," notes Seymour. 

On Monday, in a community-to-community forum at the Parkside Lounge, the band met with the city to discuss strategic planning moving forward, including a transit agreement that's been on the table for years. 

"That's something we've had discussions with the band off and on over lots of years," says Kamloops mayor Peter Milobar. "It's one of those things where it would be a tripartite agreement between BC Transit, ourselves, and the band. We've said all along we don't have a problem administering the contract. But the band would have to look at ways at how to fund the service."

Milobar says it would benefit Kamloops residents wanting to bus up to Sun Rivers, and vice versa. But Chief Seymour says with a financial shortfall at this point, it will realistically take between two and three years to introduce bus service on the reserve.

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